To be honest, I feel a little sorry for the long-form sales page. Think about it. It’s that one piece of copy that people love to hate, yet works hard regardless of popular opinion. When I imagine the long-form sales page as a person, I can’t help but see that tough, hard-working teacher who is under-appreciated. You know her — she’s the teacher you whined about because she was “too hard” on you or “boring” — until you realized years later that she was the one that got you great results.
Well, the long-form sales page is used to people complaining about how long it takes to read her and how hard it is to write her. She takes the hatred and indifference in her stride. But unlike that taken-for-granted teacher, if done correctly, you won’t have to wait years for your long-form sales page to pay off.
You’ll make sales. Which means you’ll stay in business. Because even though people profess to hate long-form sales pages, when it comes to selling your next offering, it’s worth remembering that results are more important than opinion.
Now, I’m not sticking up for the long-form sales page because I believe it is your only option. Rather, I urge you to make an informed decision around how you will persuade your potential clients to buy your coaching services or programs.
Whether you loathe reading long-form sales page or avoid writing them for your own offerings, my intention is not to convince you of the many benefits of long-form sales pages but to present you with some worthy alternatives.
Video Invitation / Video Series
It’s official. Our dwindling attention spans combined with sheer laziness means watching a video is preferable to reading text. Perhaps because it’s easier to engage with, a video invitation makes a viable alternative to your traditional sales page.
- Your prospective client gets to see and hear you, which increases trust and likeability.
- You capture attention more easily and can break down content into digestible chunks suited to a video series.
- You can add your video to YouTube and optimise it for SEO, thereby increasing visibility.
- With a video sales page, your prospects won’t be able to re-read parts of your offering as they can with a long-form sales page. Not being able to go back over the information can be a drawback because while people will first skim and then re-read the same written information, they are unlikely to watch a video more than once.
- You still need to write your video script (can’t get out of writing, my friend!).
- You will need to invest time in editing your video, which may require more technical support or training investment.
VERDICT: If you have a straightforward one-to-one coaching service, one without a whole heap of features, using a video invitation rather than a long-form sales page makes sense. You’ll still need to write your video script (or hire a copywriter to do it for you), but if you can share a compelling story, clearly articulate the problems you help people overcome, and know how to edit it, go for it!
I highly recommend combining video with copy on your sales page. That way you get the best of both worlds. Not only will you improve your sales conversion by 5% to 24%, you’ll likely limit the usual objections to the long-form sales page.
Same information conveyed via different mediums means you’re appealing to different types of learners. Win/Win.
Short Sales Page
A shorter sales page sounds appealing, until you start to wonder…
a) What can I afford to leave out?
b) What kind of relationship do I have with my audience?
Keep those questions in mind when making your decision.
- A short sales page is a great alternative to a long one when you have an established, invested community of adoring fans through your blogging efforts. Think about the bloggers you follow who come out with the coaching offer you’ve been waiting for. You already love them so it’s a no-brainer.
- If you have a straightforward coaching offering, or if your prospective clients are already quite familiar with how coaching works, keeping your sales page short can position you favourably.
- A short sales page can be ideal if you are testing out a new service or offering. You can always add more copy as required.
- You may discover that potential clients want more information than you have provided in the short sales page, which means you end up responding to email enquiries that could have been dealt with via a long-form sales page. Doh!
- You may not know what to keep or leave out of your short sales page, which means key benefits of working with you might be missed.
VERDICT: A short sales page is a wonderful alternative if you have already built an impressive platform. For example if you grew a huge, engaged list of followers before you even decided to offer paid coaching services then you can probably get away with a shorter sales page. Go you!
This is an effective, elegant option for multi-talented coaches who offer a range of services.
- When you offer a range of services (3 or more), your prospects can view a snapshot of everything you do.
- You can even use a services list to “test” newer offerings. By this I mean, rather than write a new long-form sales page for a brand-new offering, you can provide the basics and follow up with a call to action to get in touch for more information. This may allow you to test several offerings for interest before committing to using a longer sales page for your signature offering.
- According to SEO expert Shae Baxter it’s more effective to have a separate web page for each service. That way you can optimize each page for the right key words.
- If your offering is a considerable investment or is an information product, the services list may not supply sufficient information.
VERDICT: When you offer a range of services at industry-average rates then a services page is a great alternative to several long-form sales pages.
Unless you have a great deal of social proof, I suggest you err on the side of longer rather than shorter copy. If you only want to pitch your offering to people who already know, like and trust you, you can possibly get away with a shorter sales email. On the other hand, if you’re offering something that has a high price tag and takes quite a bit of explaining, seriously consider the long-form sales page.
And remember, even if you personally have an aversion to long-form sales pages, it’s wise to reflect on what your prospective client actually needs from your communication. After all, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to say yes, that’s exactly what I need – sign me up!
Kate Erlenbusch is a writer, teacher and the force behind Word Love, a digital copywriting service and virtual playspace for creatives, coaches and big-hearted business owners who want to sell and serve with soul. When Kate’s not searching for the right words she’s searching for her car keys, or the meaning of last night’s dream. Download Kate’s free eBook 7 Cheeky Secrets of Writing that Sells & Serves at wordlovebykate.com.